Communities of Practice

Halifax Global is a multi-disciplined, highly skilled and experienced team of professionals with strategic business and operational planning experience in varied industry, government, community and voluntary sectors.

Our experience is both deep and broad, from the highest levels of government to small businesses and small communities, from large agencies to smaller not-for-profit groups. We have worked with clients in manufacturing and service businesses, in forest products and energy, with cooperatives and not-for-profit community service agencies, in health care and government services, and with community and economic development organizations.

In all settings, we remain focused on strategic and tactical business planning, and on delivering recommendations and plans that can actually be implemented.

Daily we communicate with leaders in business, in communities and in government. We bring significant executive, consulting, management and research experience to our clients. Most importantly, our experience has taught us to listen, and to ask insightful questions that penetrate to the realities of client organizations.

Our experience enables us to deliver the best possible outcomes for our clients.

Following are project examples by industry/sector.

Post-Secondary Education

University extension campus development

Client

St. Thomas University

Situation

St. Thomas University was presented with an opportunity to acquire a former convent building as the basis for establishment of a College of Extension in Miramichi, the community of the institution’s origins some 150 years previously. The Board of Governors had given its approval-in-principle to the proposed College and the University’s senior management team sought external support to undertake a comprehensive feasibility assessment of the building acquisition and of the proposed College.

Approach
Halifax Global assembled an expert team with skills in engineering, post-secondary education and business planning and working closely with the University President and senior management completed the needed feasibility study. The project involved in-depth consultation across a complex set of stakeholder and partnership relationships including the Provincial Government, the NB Community College, First Nations and other communities and local school boards.

Outcome

The business plan that was developed resulted in implementation of a revised strategic direction and successfully securing new funding support for the proposed campus.

Research institute strategic plan

Client

Canadian Rivers Institute, University of New Brunswick

Situation

The Canadian Rivers Institute (CRI) was established with a mandate to carry out multi-disciplinary basic and applied research focusing on river ecosystems, including their land-water linkages, for the purpose of conservation and sustainable management of water resources. CRI’s mandate also involved educating students, professionals, and the public about freshwater and estuarine ecosystems and the potential impacts of humans in these environments.
As the Institute grew and evolved into a multi-disciplinary research and educational facility it achieved significant success, but nonetheless operated without core funding. Collaborations and partnerships were therefore essential to its activities.Potential opportunities for further development of the CRI made it imperative that any plan for its future growth must determine whether sufficient new revenues can be generated from existing and untapped, alternative sources to enable the CRI to become financially sustainable.
To help it address these opportunities effectively, the University’s senior management team decided to seek outside support to develop a business plan to guide achievement of a financially sustainable future for the CRI.

Approach

Halifax Global was engaged to develop a comprehensive strategic and business plan for the next stages of CRI’s development. The engagement involved extensive stakeholder interviews both internal and external to the University, financial analysis and creation of an operationally focused business planthat identified and evaluated various potential revenue streams, potential capital and operating expenses, and set out a timetable for reaching a financially sustainable operating state..

Throughout the engagement the Halifax Global team worked closely with the senior University management team and with the Director and Fellows of the Institute to establish goals, measures and targets for future growth and development of the Institute.

Outcome

These objectives were incorporated into a strategic plan that assisted the University’s senior management team and Board of Governors in its decision regarding future investment in and support for the CRI.

Development and implementation of business and operational plan

Client

University of New Brunswick, College of Extended Learning

Situation

UNB’s College of Extended Learning, (CEL), had begun a process of renewing its strategic business plan. General strategic directions had been established, however, the challenge facing CEL’s senior management was development of a solid business plan which could effectively guide the process of operationalising these strategies in the context of the business realities facing the College.
To support and accelerate that effort, CEL sought professional consulting support to provide business planning advice, methods, experience, as well as an outside perspective, to create a practical and effective business plan.

Approach

Halifax Global worked closely with the client to develop a business plan with a three-year planning horizon. The engagement involved revisiting the CEL corporate strategy, extensive stakeholder interviews, financial analysis and creation of an operationally focused business plan

In developing the plan, the HGI team carefully assessed the organization’s flexibility and capacity to achieve its strategic goals and objectives. As well, measurable attributes were applied to operational elements of the plan, including financial and non-financial elements to support recommended advancements.
Throughout the engagement the Halifax Global team worked with managers individually and collectively to establish their divisional goals, measures and targets and rolling them into the corporate plan. Throughout the planning period, worked closely with the Executive Director (who was charged with the corporate planning responsibility) to develop the plan and presentation to CEL’s Executive Committee.

Outcome

The plan developed by the CEL team with HGI support was adopted for implementation and has guided the operations and improved financial performance of the College.

Sector mapping of exportable assets

Client

Education and Training/Formation Atlantic

Situation

The international education market, valued at $2.5 trillion in 2005 holds the promise of potentially lucrative opportunities globally for local education and training providers. To take advantage of these opportunities, the newly formed Education and Training/Formation Atlantic committee’s (ET/FA) aims to understand the strengths of the education and training sector, and find ways to promote these strengths to potential customers. By mapping the exportable assets of the sector, ET/FA is better able to identify opportunities for collaboration, react to new initiatives and opportunities, and leverage existing relationships to build awareness.

Approach

The Committee identified that development of an education and training asset map will provide the intelligence needed to formulate coordinated responses to project opportunities, and will be a good first collaboration step among local providers.
The project started with fhe identification of education and training providers resident in Atlantic Canada whose assets could be mapped as part of this project. An initial review of publicly available information from the Internet and other published materials was undertaken to identify export-ready expertise and experience held by the identified providers.This information was documented in an online database, which had been developed on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform. Providers then validated the information collected through the initial review, and provided additional expertise and experience profiles.
A final report was prepared which included a complete with a list of providers, an outline of the project including research and the database development, and a summary of the research and findings.

Outcome

The resulting online database, or Asset Map, is being used by education and training organizations throughout Atlantic Canada. It has been used to identify existing relationships between local institutions and international partners to build partnerships for project opportunities, demonstrate the breadth and depth of relationships to international delegations vising Atlantic Canada, and support development of project proposals.
In 2012 Halifax Global was subsequently engaged by ET/FA to undertake a process of updating the database information and providing ongoing database use and reporting support to the Committee members.

Organisational redesign of Vice-President Research portfolio

Client

Queen’s University

Challenge

With the adoption of a new Strategic Research Plan (SRP) in May, 2012 and the implementation of a new provostial governance and management model, the structure and operation of the Vice-Principal (Research) Portfolio required realignment and restructuring. Operational elements within the VPR Portfolio needed to function, and be aligned to function at a level of effectiveness and efficiency that supported achievement of both the objectives of the SRP and the VPR’s mandate within the University.

Solution

The purpose of this engagement was to develop a new organizational structure that ensured that core operational research services activities were organized to meet the needs of the faculties, funding bodies and researchers, as well as to meet the demands placed on the Portfolio by the SRP and the new governance and management model.

Outcome

A consultation process that engaged members of the VPR portfolio and key university administrative leaders was undertaken in conjunction with a series of workshops that engaged the VPR management team and staff in the design of a new organizational structure and an implementation plan that would allow for an orderly transition from the current organization to the new organization structure.

International student recruitment and retention strategy framework development

Client

Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education

Situation

The purpose of this engagement was to develop an ‘ideas paper’ to help government determine its involvement in and position on international education in the province.

This paper was intended to provide guidance to government about how to collaborate internally among the various government departments and partners and how to support the education institutions and schools in the recruitment and retention of international students.

Approach

An understanding of the current state of international education and recruitment in this jurisdiction was gained by conducting primary and secondary research. The three-step process included: interviews with key stakeholders, an online student survey, and secondary research that involved reviews of international education strategies and best practices in other jurisdictions.

The consulting team worked closely with the project steering committee in a series of ‘hands-on’ meetings to develop and shape the concepts, ideas and priorities. The final report was developed through an iterative process with several rounds of discussion and review by the committee.

Outcome

The research findings demonstrated that international education creates many different types of benefits for the province – social, pedagogical, and economic.  Based on these findings, the recommendations included an overall goal, four strategic priorities and a governance structure involving government, industry / business and academe to guide the development of a more comprehensive strategy and implementation plan.

Energy, Forest & Bio Products

Feasibility analysis for repurposing idled pulp mill

Client

Town of Marathon, ON

Situation

Facing the closure and bankruptcy of the community’s major employer, Marathon Pulp Inc., the Town of Marathon, in partnership with the United Steelworkers, sought expert advice and support to investigate the feasibility and develop a business case analysis of options for the ownership and operation of idled kraft pulp mill.

Approach

Working closely with the project steering committee, we consulted extensively with key stakeholders and opinion leaders, including the affected workforce, to develop a solid understanding of community desires for redevelopment and re-purposing of the idled mill. Those findings then framed the redevelopment options for consideration and focused our independent research and interviewing of subject matter experts, senior government and industry officials, and other knowledgeable informants. As potential options for revitalization of the mill facility emerged, these were reviewed, discussed and evaluated within the framework of the community’s objectives and with the steering committee and key members of the community.

Outcome

A feasibility and business cases analysis for re-purposing the idled pulp mill that provided the Town and its stakeholders with a clearly articulated explanation of the mill’s potential viability as a forest biomass conversion facility configured to produce various possible outputs including biofuels, biopolymers, biochemicals and other bio-products, as well as electricity.

Analysis of potential for community and idled pulp mill as regional centre for biomass commercialization

Client

Smooth Rock Falls Community Development Corporation, ON

Situation

In the immediate aftermath of the sudden, permanent closure of the community’s primary employer, a kraft pulp mill, the Community Development Corporation of Smooth Rock Falls led an adjustment strategy development process that identified commercialization of biomass processing as the central focus of a plan for long term economic renewal.Predicated on its belief that sustainable development rests with private investment in a climate governed by market forces, the community sought expert support to qualify the relevance of the assets at the idled pulp mill as a biomass commercialization catalyst.

Approach

With a team that included internationally recognized experts in several biomass feedstock and bio-conversion technology domains, we carried out a broad consultation process that informed, challenged and engaged municipal council, development corporation staff and a wide range of community partners, stakeholders and opinion leaders in all aspects of the project’s approach and methodology. These interactions framed and informed our extensive research process which involved significant secondary source research, interviews with numerous experts in each of the seven bio-conversion technology domains examined, combined with in depth consultations with our team’s expert advisers.

Outcome

A strategic plan that identified a two-fold catalyst as demonstrating the best opportunity for success — develop short rotation willow plantations to serve as biomass input to the process; and, adopt extraction / fermentation technology as the core element of the development concept catalyst, in combination with densification technology to produce high energy wood pellets for export and combustionbased cogeneration of sufficient size to provide power and process heat for the venture. The plan also presented a firm conclusion that the biomass commercialization direction selected by the community as the foundation for its economy could be achieved; but that development of purpose grown biomass fibre crops was essential to that success.

Evaluation of potential for commercial production of cellulosic biofuels

Client

Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Situation

The decline of the forest products industrial sector in Atlantic Canada resulted in significant underutilisation of available forest resources and related reductions in forest-based industrial and business activity across the region. This decline also resulted in closure of industrial facilities that have at least theoretical potential for repurposing and conversion to process woody biomass into biofuels and other bioproducts. Recognising the impending imposition of new renewable fuel standards for diesel transportation fuels and the absence of biodiesel production capacity in the region, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency sought expert support to identify opportunities for commercialization of cellulosic-based and possibly other forms of biofuels in Atlantic Canada, particularly where such opportunities had the potential to repurpose idled forest products manufacturing facilities.

Approach

Using a combination of online research and direct interviewing the Halifax Global team compiled information about idled forest products manufacturing sites, reviewed recent developments and advances in a number of biomass processing technologies, developed specific profiles of key characteristics of technologies that appeared to have potential application within the region, identified available forest-based biomass supplies and reviewed research and development of biofibre crops as potential inputs for biofuels project opportunities in Atlantic Canada.

Outcome

The key deliverables from this assignment included —

  • An inventory / asset map of idled forest products industrial facilities within the region that may be available and suitable for use in pilot / demonstration scale projects;
  • Related descriptions of biofuels technologies being developed which may be applicable for use in one or more of the identified industrial sites;
  • Preliminary assessments of the potential volumes of woody and other forms of cellulosic biomass which may be available as feedstock to support a proposed commercialization / development project; and,
  • Descriptive profiles of proponents, both from within the region and elsewhere, who may potentially have interest in pursuing biofuels commercialization opportunities within the region.

ACOA has continued its assessment and due diligence related to the identified opportunities and potential proponents.

Bio-refinery & eco-Industrial site business case development

Client

Eastern Ontario Model Forest

Situation

The permanent closure of an integrated pulp and paper mill within the area of the Eastern Ontario Model Forest resulted in the loss of a major buyer of timber harvested from the woodlot operations which constitute a significant component of the organisation’s membership. The Model Forest sought expert help to identify and assess possible new forest products processing opportunities as potential replacement demand for timber no longer being purchased by the idled pulp and paper mill.

Approach

Halifax Global assembled a team of senior consultants with forest sector experience that included internationally recognized experts in several biomass feedstock and bioconversion technology domains and carried out a broad consultation process with a wide range of community partners, stakeholders and potential project proponents, investors and funders. Our research process also involved significant secondary source research, as well as additional interviews with experts in the bioconversion technology domains identified and examined as having potential for implementation in a wood-based bio-products refinery that could be located an eco-industrial park being proposed for the area.

Outcome

The process culminated in development of a business case for a facility that integrated existing conventional primary and secondary wood products manufacturing in the region with developmental secondary wood products manufacturing, developmental wood-based bio-products refining; and conventional and developmental wood-based bio-mass energy production. The resulting business case also addressed the related need for research infrastructure that could link these opportunities within the context of a research – development – demonstration (RD&D) facility that would serve as the foundation for a more comprehensive eco-industrial complex and has been used by the Model Forest and its municipal partners in their subsequent investment attraction efforts.

Investigation of potential of biomass as renewable energy feedstock

Client

Emera Inc.

Situation

As a result of a newly acquired equity interest and management role in several Caribbean Region power utilities, our client needed to address two component elements of a possible approach to renewable energy development —

  • Investigation of opportunities to utilize existing sources of woody biomass as renewable fuel substitutes for light and heavy fuel oil and diesel currently used to generate electricity; and,
  • Investigation of the potential for development and processing of purpose-grown biofibre crops as renewable fuels to support development of additional electricity generation capacity.

Approach

To address this situation, Halifax Global undertook a review of recent developments and advances in five biomass processing technologies that appeared to have potential application, (individually or in combination), within the client’s generation fleet, including:

  • Gasification;
  • Flash Pyrolysis;
  • Hemicellulose extraction / fermentation;
  • Densification; and,
  • Torrefaction.

As well, we reviewed recent developments and advances in the development of biofibre crops that appear to have potential for development as renewable fuels in Caribbean locations; and, we developed ‘sensitivity analyses’ to define price thresholds for oil prices at which various biofibre crops grown in a Caribbean environment could be expected to become viable alternative, renewable fuels.

Outcome

Halifax Global developed a report which included a business case and implementation model which guided the client’s subsequent renewable energy strategy for these investments.

Provincial forest sector development strategy

Client

Newfoundland and Labrador, Department of Natural Resources

Situation

Newfoundland’s forest sector faced challenges that potentially threatened the viability of a number of firms in the industry, both large and small. Changing currency values, increased demands on fibre supply, declining or at best flat demand for key products, and rising energy and other input costs combine to create a very difficult operating environment for the Province’s forest producers.
These challenges and threats were also recognised as having impact beyond the companies themselves, affectinga significant number of stakeholders and stakeholder groups that comprise the forest sector in Newfoundland. All of these interests could be affected by the outcomes from a new strategic direction for the sector for which the NL Department of Natural Resources sought external expertise.

Approach

Halifax Global brought together a team drawn from its roster of senior associates, all of whom possessed substantial sector experience and knowledge and had worked together on previous forest sector assignments.
The HGI team addressed nine key objectives:

  • Define the structure of the current forest products industries and provide benchmark analysis of competitiveness and performance;
  • Assess the extent to which energy, corporate tax and forest management have been used as industrial incentives in Newfoundland and other selected, comparable jurisdictions;
  • Assess the extent to which the wood supply and policy elements of Newfoundland’s forest management system affect the performance and potential of the forest products sector;
  • Assess the extent to which Newfoundland’s forest land tenure regime affects the performance and potential of the forest products sector;
  • Define markets currently served by Newfoundland’s forest products manufacturers as well as those markets which could potentially be served in the future;
  • Assess the potential for advancement of the forest industry sector based on adoption and application of more advanced technologies;
  • Assess the policy environment to support development of non-timber and alternate forest uses;
  • Undertake a SWOT analysis of key industry segments based on both current and potential markets, and of potential new industry segments; and,
  • Develop a strategic plan to guide future direction and development of the forest products sector in Newfoundland.

Companies and their shareholders and employees, communities that depend on the employment and economic activity generated by forest companies, power generators and utilities, entrepreneurs and other organizations pursuing non-timber forest products and other uses of the resource, and recreational and tourist users all had an interest in the future strategic directions that would emerge from the assignment.
Given this context, any recommended strategy must have significant stakeholder ‘buy-in’ if there was to be successful implementation. Halifax Global recognised that such ‘buy in’ could only be achieved through direct consultations with as many identified stakeholders as practicable. These became the core element of the project, supplemented with market studies and assessment of the state of the industry’s manufacturing capabilities.

Outcome

In its release to the public of the Halifax Global Report, the NL Minister of Natural Resources announced the Department was following the recommendations put forward in the report, noting in the media release that “many of the recommendations in the report have already been implemented, including bioenergy development, establishing an industry adjustment fund, investigation of potential international markets and increasing support for technical skills development through the College of the North Atlantic”.

Regional - community adjustment response to newsprint mill closure

Client

Nova Scotia Department of Economic & Rural Development and Tourism, Bowater Transition Team

Situation

In response to the permanent closure of the Bowater Mersey paper mill, Oak Hill sawmill, and related harvesting operations, the Province of Nova Scotia assembled a Transition Advisory Team to identify opportunities for economic diversification for the Lunenburg Queens region. The Team was mandated to consult with a wide range of people in the community, through one-on-one meetings, large group meetings, and written submissions. Managing the analysis and reporting from the consultation process required a significant level of support, in order to meet pre-established deadlines.

Approach

Halifax Global Inc. was engaged by the Province of Nova Scotia to provide support to the Transition Advisory Team and provide specific expertise in relation to specific opportunities related to forest products and bio-resources. Ruth Blades worked closely with the Team, attending all meetings and participating in one-on-one and group consultation sessions.

In advance of the public consultations, a background document was developed to provide all attendees with a common understanding of the realities in which new opportunities would be identified.

Summaries of the findings from the two public group sessions were produced and shared with attendees. Two online surveys were developed to solicit additional input from residents. The responses to these surveys were summarized and posted on the Transition website.

Finally, a report was developed which identified recommended courses of action for the community, government, individuals and businesses.

Outcome

The recommendations from the Transition Advisory Team were well received by the community and government alike. At the time of the report’s release, one recommendation had already been implemented – the creation of a community forest initiative in the Lunenburg Queens region. The recommendation to purchase 550,000 acres of land owned by the Bowater Mersey paper company was acted on, and those lands are now owned by the Province of Nova Scotia. Additionally, the physical assets identified with the paper mill have also been purchased and are being transitioned into a Centre of Excellence for bio-resources. Supported by the recommendations identified in the Transition Advisory Team report and the drive of local residents, the Lunenburg Queens region is well on its way to overcoming the shock of the mill’s closure.

Science & Innovation

Feasibility study and business plan for science-focused media centre

Client

Canadian Science Media Centre, Canada Foundation for Innovation

Situation

The concept of a Science Media Centre (SMC) ensures that when a major science story breaks, or a journalist is researching a feature story, the science angle is covered in a timely and accurate manner. Committed to demonstrating the importance, benefits, and relevance of research and to promoting a culture of science through a wide range of communications activities, the Canada Foundation for Innovation facilitated the feasibility for a made-in-Canada SMC to assist the community of interest in this initial stage of consideration.

Approach

Initially, Halifax Global carried out a feasibility study to determine whether the concept of a science media centre in Canada would garner sufficient interest among journalists and researchers, and be able to achieve financial sustainability.
With the determination that the concept was feasible, we were engaged to develop a five-year Business Plan that mapped out the operational, governance, financial and implementation details.
The Science Media Centre of Canada was successfully launched in 2010 with a series of launch events across the country. Halifax Global developed the program and organized the launch event in Atlantic Canada.

Outcome

Nearly 400 stakeholders were consulted using several research instruments including an online survey, one-on-one consultations and focus groups. Interviews were also carried with other science media centres in Australia, England and New Zealand. The findings demonstrated the feasibility for a SMC in Canada by identifying the level of support such a centre could hope to achieve.
The business plan laid out the purpose, goals and mandate of the proposed SMC; identified a strategic framework under which it would be developed; described three strategic priorities, a marketing and communications framework, and implementation plan; and provided a six-year financial sustainability plan and performance measures.
The launch event attracted approximately 350 participants who engaged in a dialogue with a panel of scientists and journalists moderated by Jay Ingram, the well-known Canadian science broadcaster, writer and former host of the Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet science show.

Strategic business and start-up plan for science policy organisation

Client

Canadian Science Policy Centre

Solution

In 2011, Halifax Global was engaged to assist the CSPC with development of a start-up strategic business plan for a unique Canada-wide science policy organization. Delegates to the Canadian Science Policy Conferences had expressed a need to establish a more robust entity that supported and promoted the broad perspectives of the science, technology and innovation sectors.

Approach

Working with a steering committee of stakeholders from across Canada, this project included one-on-one interviews and working sessions with key stakeholders, an online survey, development of the vision and mission statements, strategic priorities, governance and organizational structures, implementation timetable and a five-year financial model. In all, more than 100 stakeholders, representing leaders in the science, technology and innovation policy field from the private, public, academic and NGO sectors had input to the plan, which was presented to the national Canadian Science Policy Conference in November, 2011.
Also taken into consideration were findings and conclusions from recent reports on the status of science and innovation in Canada
In addition, a review of five comparator organizations identified a variety of different characteristics and structures which could be models for a Canadian science policy network

Outcome

The final deliverables included vision and mission statements; a strategic plan that articulated four primary strategic directions; membership, governance and operational structures; an implementation schedule; and a five-year financial model.

Initial planning and recruitment phase operational management of large-scale epidemiological study

Client

Atlantic PATH Cancer Research Study

Situation

The Atlantic PATH Cancer Research Study (PATH) is one of five cohorts of the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project (CPTP), the largest population study in Canada to date. With a target of recruiting 30,000 participants from across the four Atlantic Provinces the challenge was multifaceted. Participants agreed to be followed for 30 years and provided information about their lifestyle, and family and personal history by completing paper or on-line questionnaires. They also provided body measurements and a number of biosamples including blood, urine, saliva and toe nails.

Approach

Halifax Global initially provided planning support for the roll-out of the study and was then engaged to manage the overall study operations, budget and recruitment efforts to the end of the recruitment phase in March, 2012. The primary components of the project included a direct and mass marketing recruitment campaign; the establishment of multiple assessment centres across the four provinces and a laboratory for processing and storing the biosamples; participation in developing a national database to enter the data; and establishment of a central office to manage the project. At its peak, the study involved up to 60 employees including health, marketing, research and administrative personnel.

Outcome

By the end of the recruitment phase, the study had recruited the targeted number of 30,000 Atlantic Canadians. The marketing/business approach which we used to recruit participants was highly successful and led the other cohorts across the country. This Canadian database will provide researchers with a rich source of data and policy-makers with information on how to target disease prevention efforts, and will provide a legacy for future research worldwide.

Strategic plan for growth of provincial life sciences sector

Client

BioNova, Nova Scotia’s Life Sciences and Biotechnology Industry Association

Situation

The life sciences industry in Nova Scotia is a diverse cluster of start-up and established companies of varying sizes, many of whom export their products and services around the world. In addition, the universities, government and health centres contribute their research capabilities to support industry with their R&D needs.

Over a number of years, BioNova undertook several iterative initiatives toward developing a long term plan to grow the life sciences industry in Nova Scotia. Over the course of nearly four years, Halifax Global was engaged by BioNova to help with development of the plan.

Approach

Initially, BioNova engaged Halifax Global to assist the organization with development of an asset map of the life sciences industry in Nova Scotia that inventoried the industry, related research institutions and activities underway in the province at that time. Subsequently, HGI supported BioNova in conducting a series of consultations that brought together the life sciences community to achieve agreement on future market opportunities and the priority actions required to take advantage of these opportunities.

Finally, BioNova engaged our firm to develop an industry strategic plan and a separate but related plan specifically for the medical technology sector.

Over the course of these projects, we engaged many of the industry and research leaders in the Nova Scotia through group consultations and workshops, and surveys and interviews. We carried out primary and secondary research into other life sciences clusters in Canada, the US and Europe, and we worked collaboratively with the steering committees to define and shape the strategies.

Outcome

The strategic plan for the life sciences industry in Nova Scotia articulated four key elements required to change the trajectory of entrepreneurial activity in the industry, and the medical technology plan defined approaches to support commercialization and growth of this sector.

Project management services for creation of new virtual cancer research institute

Client

Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute

Situation

Approximately 50 cancer researchers came together to discuss the possibility of forming a virtual cancer research institute based in Halifax but with the capacity to reach out to investigators in Nova Scotia and ultimately Atlantic Canada.  Session participants decided to move forward with the support of a project manager.  Halifax Global was engaged to manage the efforts of a working group of volunteers to launch the new institute.

Approach

The Halifax Global team, in its capacity of project manager, supported the working group to finalize the terms of reference for the cancer research institute; create a website that supported the exchange and transfer of information and knowledge, and provided tools for collaboration; initiated a seminar series to stimulate co-operation and collaboration among cancer researchers and provide opportunities for learning and exchange of information and knowledge; and established an administrative team structure.

Outcome

The launch of the new Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute established a meeting place for researchers to share ideas and forge new collaborations, at Dalhousie University and across Nova Scotia, Atlantic Canada and beyond.

Economic Development Strategy & Policy

Creation of an investment readiness roadmap to support regional growth of SME’s

Client

Council of Atlantic Premiers

Situation

The Council of Atlantic Premiers (CAP) were seeking advice on how to help owners and managers of small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) become better equipped to address the challenges they face in accessing capital, whether in the form of debt or equity financing. Specifically, CAP would like to help companies in Atlantic Canada become “investor-ready” and are thus seeking a consultant who will develop a strategy and a work plan to achieve this.

Approach

Our approach started with consultations with SME’s, providers of debt and equity financial and support organizations throughout Atlantic Canada. In addition, research of support programs, seminars and sources of capital was undertaken. We then developed 3 strategies for enhancing investor readiness in the Atlantic Provinces. We then held validation sessions with the consulted stakeholders and developed a high level implementation plan.

Outcome

CAP and Steering Committee members comprised of representatives of the four Atlantic Provinces and the Federal Government accepted and subsequently commenced implementation of the key recommendations that were primarily focused on creating an investment readiness roadmap together with a navigation support network.

Development of detailed strategies and implementation plan to guide regional economic development

Client

Municipality of the District of Lunenburg, NS

Situation

The Municipality of the District of Lunenburg (MODL) had completed Phase 1 of its strategic planning process in which a high level vision and a general direction for economic development activity were set. MODL now required a detailed set of strategies and an implementation plan.

Approach

We studied the Phase 1 report and all relevant documentation and studies that had been prepared to date. We conducted a series of focus group sessions in the community and created a draft set of strategies and related action plans. These were reviewed with the MODL Council and a validation session held with community stakeholders. The final report then was issued that also included a set of performance measurements and benchmarks. The report also included estimated implementation costs as well as potential collaborating organizations and funders.

Outcome

The strategies and related implementation plan were accepted and the Economic Development Officer commenced with the implementation of the plan starting in the new fiscal period.

Regional – community adjustment response to newsprint mill closure

Client

Nova Scotia Department of Economic & Rural Development and Tourism, Bowater Transition Team

Situation

In June 2012 the Government of Nova Scotia was advised that the newsprint mill in Liverpool, NS would be closed permanently. In addition to the obvious impacts of direct and indirect employment losses and related reductions in business activity within Lunenburg and Queen’s Counties, the mill closure represented a significant loss of market for wood chips produced by sawmills across Western Nova Scotia and for timber produced by locally owned woodlots. As well, a nearby biomass-fueled combined heat and power generating facility faced disruptions to feedstocks and to customer demand for process heat, resulting in loss of a significant source of renewable electricity for the Province-wide grid.

Through its Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism the Province engaged Halifax Global to provide support to a team of senior officials that had been given a mandate to evaluate impacts of the mill closure and to work with affected communities to develop and implement strategies for economic rejuvenation and renewal.

Approach

Working very closely with the team of senior officials, Halifax Global brought together a team drawn from its roster of senior associates, all of whom had worked together on previous forest sector and mill closure assignments. There were three major components to our role –

  • Initially, we conducted research and situational assessments to assist officials in defining and assessing the specific impacts of the newsprint mill shutdown, particularly with respect to its effects on other forest products producers;
  • Our team provided expert support in the investigation and evaluation ofproposals to establish at the facility ventures based on several biomass conversion and refining technologies;
  • We provided forest products sector and bioconversion / biorefining expertise to support the community-focused Transition Advisory Committee as it explored as it explored and evaluate options for economic renewal; and,
  • We developed a conceptual business model for a ‘Future Forest Sector Research, Development and Demonstration Centre of Excellence’ as a possible initiative to be established at the site, and initiated linkages with principal investigators in several relevant research networks and organisations.

Outcome

Working very closely with the team of senior officials, Halifax Global brought together a team drawn from its roster of senior associates, all of whom had worked together on previous forest sector and mill closure assignments. There were three major components to our role –

  • Initially, we conducted research and situational assessments to assist officials in defining and assessing the specific impacts of the newsprint mill shutdown, particularly with respect to its effects on other forest products producers;
  • Our team provided expert support in the investigation and evaluation ofproposals to establish at the facility ventures based on several biomass conversion and refining technologies;
  • We provided forest products sector and bioconversion / biorefining expertise to support the community-focused Transition Advisory Committee as it explored as it explored and evaluate options for economic renewal; and,

We developed a conceptual business model for a ‘Future Forest Sector Research, Development and Demonstration Centre of Excellence’ as a possible initiative to be established at the site, and initiated linkages with principal investigators in several relevant research networks and organisations.

Planning to support regional community innovation strategy

Client

Enterprise Fredericton, NB

Situation
The Enterprise Fredericton Strategic Plan Committee, in partnership with its community and business partners, had developed a Community Growth Strategy for the Greater Fredericton Region, based on a three-year implementation process of sustainable community economic development.The purpose of the Community Growth Strategy was to champion sustainable economic development in the Greater Fredericton Region. The vision was to grow the Greater Fredericton Region into the most dynamic, growing community of innovation in Canada.
Four pillars were deemed to be fundamental to the Community Growth Strategy:

  • Community of Innovation
  • Business Retention and Expansion
  • Investment Attraction Strategy
  • Immigration Preparedness Strategy

The Community of Innovation (COI) wasthe remaining pillar for which a detailed plan had not been developed and through Enterprise Fredericton, the planning group sought proposal to develop the plan for the Community of Innovation which south to develop a systematic approach to harness the Region’s potential for knowledge-based innovation and entrepreneurship.
Approach

Halifax Global conducted comprehensive consultations with a very wide range of individuals and stakeholder groups and organisations across the Greater Fredericton area. Through that process, supplemented with extensive, additional research, our team address seven critical objectives –

  • Develop an inventory and benchmark analysis of the region’s knowledge and innovation assets;
  • Identify gaps in that asset base, as well as develop recommendations to address any gaps identified;
  • Explore and evaluate similar incubation and support models functioning in other comparable jurisdictions;
  • Devise and execute a process through which the input and involvement of key community stakeholders can be incorporated into the strategy and plan;
  • Develop a strategic business plan and economic model for the COI through which the region’s innovation system can be focused and channelled into a robust stream of investment, mentoring, incubation and technology transfer;
  • Develop an effective implementation plan that can be used by Enterprise Fredericton to guide development of the Community of Innovation; and,
  • Develop and recommend a communications strategy and plan that can be executed by Enterprise Fredericton to ensure the widest possible level of support as the COI entity develops.

Outcome

HGI developed a strategic plan for Innovation Fredericton which focused on a systematic approach to harnessing the Region’s potential for accelerated growth driven by knowledge-based innovation and entrepreneurship. At their core, the strategies set out in the plan were about the need to do things differently to achieve the community’s growth goals. Based on a set of defined guiding principles, three strategies were recommended as a basis for building an innovation infrastructure over a two year implementation period and accepted and adopted by the client.

Mapping of government exportable assets and expertise

Client

Government of Nova Scotia, Department of Inter-Governmental Affairs

Situation

Nova Scotia is in a position to respond to a growing global need to address poverty, governance and general development in societies throughout the world. As governments of developing nations strive to achieve developed nation status, and other governments are aiming for greater efficiencies and best practices, proven methods of public sector reform and governance are being sought as models. The first step in responding to these opportunities is to identify and quantify “exportable” provincial government services for Nova Scotia. Developing an asset map of these services is an effective, proven solution as a first step to engaging in strategic international partnerships.

The intent and outcomes of the Provincial Export-Ready Services Asset Mapping project was to foster collaboration and joint promotion of Nova Scotia government services, to assist departments in growing and sharing knowledge of service exports, to support the government in fostering strategic relationships with the purpose of identifying new sources of revenue and further positioning Nova Scotia as a “smart province” in the international arena.

Approch

Nova Scotia is in a position to respond to a growing global need to address poverty, governance and general development in societies throughout the world. As governments of developing nations strive to achieve developed nation status, and other governments are aiming for greater efficiencies and best practices, proven methods of public sector reform and governance are being sought as models. The first step in responding to these opportunities is to identify and quantify “exportable” provincial government services for Nova Scotia. Developing an asset map of these services is an effective, proven solution as a first step to engaging in strategic international partnerships.

The intent and outcomes of the Provincial Export-Ready Services Asset Mapping project was to foster collaboration and joint promotion of Nova Scotia government services, to assist departments in growing and sharing knowledge of service exports, to support the government in fostering strategic relationships with the purpose of identifying new sources of revenue and further positioning Nova Scotia as a “smart province” in the international arena.

Outcome

The final report for this project identified a series of steps which should be undertaken by government to prepare for the potential export of government services. Specific areas that were addressed include marketing, partnerships and pricing strategies. Additional recommendations laid out specific activities, strategies, and approaches that should be considered to support the export of government services and expertise.

Health Care & Disability

Planning to support campaign to increase employment opportunities for persons with disabilities

Client

Nova Scotia Employability Table for Persons with Disabilities

Situation

Persons with disabilities are significantly under-represented in Nova Scotia’s labour market with a work force participation rate of only 52% compared to 79% of the non-disabled population. A combination of aging demographics, labour market trends and large scale projects open opportunities for traditionally under-represented groups in the workforce like never before. The Nova Scotia Employability Table for Persons with Disabilities engaged Halifax Global to assist with developing a campaign that would create greater awareness of this untapped labour force and engage employers to hire persons with disabilities in greater numbers.

Approach

The primary purpose of this campaign was to level the employment playing field for persons with disabilities with an expected outcome that more employment opportunities would be identified, and more persons with disabilities hired into jobs than ever before.
The vision for the Challenge was two-pronged: that Nova Scotians with disabilities would participate fully in the labour market and have increased economic independence and enhanced well-being; and employers would have ready access to a talent pool that helps them address their labour challenges, and build inclusive and welcoming workplaces.

Outcome

The Ability Starts Here Challenge was designed to include three phases: campaign strategy development and design, toolkit development and implementation planning, and implementation / rollout and reporting
The two-tiered campaign structure included a central provincial campaign organization responsible for branding and marketing and overall campaign coordination; and local community campaign responsible for employer recruitment and matching job-seekers with disabilities to employers.

Strategic Planning

Client

Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work

Situation

Over the course of an eight year period, the organization had grown from five employees to an average of 70; from one location in Toronto to seven locations across Canada; and from a financially desperate position to where it had a sound financial base with a healthy reserve fund. By 2010, a significant program portfolio had evolved and with the 2008 recession in the rear view mirror,  the organization needed to clearly define its future direction.

Approach

In preparation for development of this plan, the consulting team carried out an online survey that sought input from the Board of Directors, the management team and all staff. The survey covered a number of areas of interest: vision and culture; programs and services; external environment; membership; and suggested changes and untapped opportunities.

Findings from the survey and outcomes from two planning sessions – one with the Executive Committee of the Board and the other with the management team provided the foundation for this strategic plan.

Outcome

The plan articulated a new vision for the organization that was aspirational and motivational.  In addition, three priority areas were developed that focused on programs and services, growth and research. The plan also identified the operational changes and human resources required to achieve the plan, including a new organizational structure.  A high level implementation schedule provided a rollout plan over a five period.

Advisory services & operational planning

Client

Newfoundland & Labrador Health Boards Association

Situation

This association was responsible for providing a variety for services to the four regional health boards in Newfoundland & abrador.  Over a period of years, the services the association provided had been reallocated elsewhere and the overall relevance of the organization had been eroded.  On departure of the long-time Executive Director, the Board hired a replacement with the mandate to revitalize the organization. Early in her tenure, the new Executive Director engaged Halifax Global to assist with charting a new path for the organization.

Approach

Halifax Global provided strategic counsel and advice over a period of nine months.  These services consisted primarily of one-on-one sessions with the Executive Director to assist her in moving her thinking and her organization forward.  Commencing with a general work plan, each session was structured to address specific issues that were subsequently documented and provided input to the future direction of the organization.

Outcome

These sessions culminated in a one-day staff retreat designed to be both an operational update and strategic discussion.  The resulting action plan was tactical and very specific to address a number of gaps and improvements, and identified the need for a more comprehensive operational plan.

Stakeholder consultations - building employment partnerships

Client

Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work

Situation

The Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work (CCRW) was revitalizing a previously discontinued employment model under a national collaborative initiative called Building Employment Partnerships with the objective of promoting access to equitable employment as a fundamental principle for achieving equality and full participation for people with disabilities.  The model was designed to provide an employment resource tool for employers. CCRW required the input of job seekers with disabilities to update and revise the program.

Approach

A core component of the initiative was to consult with job seekers with disabilities regarding their rights and responsibilities in securing employment.  To complete this initiative CCRW engaged Halifax Global to conduct three focus groups in St. John’s, NL; Toronto, ON; and Edmonton, AB. Thirty-five participants contributed to the discussion.   A standard questionnaire, prepared in advance was used for all three groups.

Outcome

In all three groups, participants spoke quite freely about their disabilities which included both physical and invisible disabilities. Discussions were grouped into three distinct areas.  The outcome from these discussions provided input to the revised training program.

Strategic operational plan

Client

Cancer Care Nova Scotia

Situation

Over its eight year history, the CCNS and its partners had consulted extensively and worked in partnership with members of the community, patients, survivors and their families, clinicians and researchers to ensure its mission was realized.  With this strategic planning process, the organization wished to review and renew its approach to continuing its achievement of high quality cancer care while at the same time meeting the needs of a changing and evolving environment.

Approach

This plan was the culmination of a process which involved all members of the management team as well as a number of other individuals who worked closely with the program.  The planning process included: interviews with all of the involved individuals; an operational review of each functional area; and a two-day planning session involving staff and board members.

Outcome

The plan defined a number of strategic priorities related to:  prevention, screening and early detection; community-based oncology; standards and guidelines; information management and system processes; education to health care professionals; and relationships with partners and stakeholders throughout the cancer system. In addition, the plan identified operational, organizational and people requirements to implement the plan.

Diversity planning for inclusive employment

Client

Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work

Situation

The primary purpose of this research study was to gather information from identified, targeted employers about their awareness of the disability agenda and their obligations under the governing Employment Equity Act and Human Rights Code as they relate to employing persons with disabilities.

A corollary purpose of the research was to assist the disability community (in general) with concrete measures/methods that employers require to increase their capacity for enabling Canadians with disabilities to participate fully in the workplace.

Approach

We defined 11 specific research objectives and a methodology that included: a review of studies, reports and other secondary research; a series of seven focus groups held across Canada with participants representing sixty-two (62) organizations; and, aweb-based on-line survey.

About 700 employers, most of which were private sector businesses, provided input into the study either by participating in one the focus groups held (78) or by responding to the on-line survey (616).

Outcome

Seven key findings emerged from the research: attitudes and cultural biases within organizations continue to be a barrier against the hiring of persons with disabilities;  awareness of statutory obligations with regard to recruiting, hiring and employing persons with disabilities remains quite low; accountability for achievement of EEA targets is generally poor; costs associated with the duty to accommodate can be and are used as rationales for not hiring job-seekers with disabilities; there is low awareness of and expectation that government or community groups can provide effective support to help organizations deal with sensitivity to issues related to working with persons with disabilities; an overwhelming number of respondents indicated a need for a centralized information source such as a single entry web-based portal; and, the requirements of the EEA to employ persons with disabilities and the prohibition in the Personal Information Protection Electronic Documents Act  (PIPEDA) against asking individuals about disability creates a conflict that is seen as a “major problem” by employers in all sectors.

We recommended three recommendations initiatives be undertaken to address the research findings:  1) Drafting a national employment delivery strategy specific to persons with disabilities to bring consistency to employment programs across the country, including the potential to create a national accommodation fund.  2) Development of practical templates for equity plans and their associated implementation plans support employers. 3)  Creation of a comprehensive “how to” guide on implementing effective survey programs to generate accurate and complete information about employment of persons with disabilities in organizations that are subject to the EEA.

Employer experiences literature review

Client

Nova Scotia Employability Table on Persons with Disabilities

Situation

As a first step to developing an integrated provincial labour market strategy for persons with disabilities, the purpose of this report was to better understand employers’ experiences, needs, obligations and responsibilities as they related to recruiting, hiring and retaining employees who have disabilities in Nova Scotia.

Approach

The research program included:

  • A literature review to gather and analyze information on current practices in: educating and engaging employers about labour market issues, availability of persons with disabilities for employment, relevant legislation, and rights and responsibilities;  employer access to identifying, hiring, recruiting, accommodating and retaining employees who have disabilities, particularly those who are seeking employment opportunities; and  identification of outcomes based on employer experiences and needs as they relate to the two points above.
  • Establishing base line information about the current situation in Nova Scotia;
  • Examining current practices in other jurisdictions including other Canadian provinces, the United States; United Kingdom, Australia, and Sweden;
  • Identifying the gaps between the circumstances in Nova Scotia and practices elsewhere; and
  • Synthesizing and analysing the research findings into a summary draft and final report.

Outcome

The findings from the research resulted in several key recommendations that included development of an employer engagement strategy to improve employer commitment and employment attachment opportunities for persons with disabilities;  targeted marketing and communications to raise employer awareness of services, information, and program options available to them through government and agencies; and  partnerships with mainstream employment services and related service delivery agencies to allow employers to more readily identify persons with disabilities who have the skills and talents they require and more fully integrate persons with disabilities into Nova Scotia’s workforce.

Immigration, Population & Workforce

Evaluation, selection and operational monitoring of pilot projects related to population and workforce development

Client

Atlantic Population Table

Situation

The Awareness & Retention Committee (ARC) of the Atlantic Population Table, administered by the Council of Atlantic Premiers, has asked representatives of each of the Atlantic Provinces to submit proposals for pilot projects related to population and workforce development. Five representative projects would be selected from the eleven proposals submitted. ARC required assistance with choosing and then supporting the projects over their 12-18 month lifespan.

Approach

Phase 1 – Project Selection. Halifax Global was chosen to work with ARC on this project. We created a template for collecting the prospective project information and we developed the assessment criteria. Our recommendations on the 5 projects to be selected were accepted. There was one project from each province and one Pan-Atlantic project. They focused on youth retention and repatriation, aboriginal inclusion and labour force SME employer toolkits gearedto existing employees as well as newcomers to the Atlantic region.

Phase 2 – Monitoring and Reporting. We provided advice to the pilot project teams and created communication and feedback mechanisms. At the conclusion of the projects we summarized the results in a final report. All project teams presented their findings in a public workshop held in Truro, NS.

Outcome

All projects were completed on time or within approved extended timeframes, within budget and all met the criteria for success. Most of the pilot projects have continued in operational mode and the collective results did influence behaviour in other provinces.

Operational management and coordination of to three year regional program to increase international immigration to the Canada’s East Coast

Client

Council of Atlantic Premiers, the governments of Nova Scotia, New Brusnwick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Situation

In 2007 the four Atlantic Provinces entered into an agreement with the Atlantic Canadian Opportunities Agency (ACOA) to undertake a series of international promotion and awareness projects and activities to increase international immigration to the Canada’s East Coast. The Council of Atlantic Premiers, as project proponent, engaged Halifax Global to provide Project Management support to this three year initiative.

Approach

The project management role was to oversee the day-to-day management and coordination of the project by developing and securing approval of work plans, annual budgets, reporting, communication, manage and process project accounts receivable/payable and funding requests, and project evaluation and wrap-up.
Project communications was achieved through coordination of 75 teleconference meetings and nine working sessions with Team Atlantic Immigration Promotion. These meetings were used to establish work-plans for the coming weeks and months, review deliverables from contractors on branding, materials development and reports, presentations from special guests, and build the team dynamics.
Reporting involved monthly status and budget reporting to the Project Management Committee and CAP Senior Management. Additionally, semi-annual reports were produced for review with the Atlantic Population Table, and oversight Committee with representation from a variety of provincial and federal government departments and agencies, and as a contractual requirement for ACOA.

Outcome

The success of this project was measured through collection of data from shows and missions and from interviews with participating employers. The quantifiable measures included the number of contacts made at shows and missions, the number of follow-up requests, the number of participating employers, and the total number of venues and locations. Benchmark measures were established in the first year of the project, against which future years were compared. The project which, through agreed extensions, ran from October 2007 to February 2012, has been recognized as a best practice in inter-provincial cooperation on immigration and is considered a financial success, with less than 0.1% variance in budget to actual expenditure.

International student recruitment and retention strategy framework development

Client

Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education

Situation

The purpose of this engagement was to develop an ‘ideas paper’ to help government determine its involvement in and position on international education in the province.

This paper was intended to provide guidance to government about how to collaborate internally among the various government departments and partners and how to support the education institutions and schools in the recruitment and retention of international students.

Approach

An understanding of the current state of international education and recruitment in this jurisdiction was gained by conducting primary and secondary research. The three-step process included:

  • interviews with key stakeholders;
  • an online student survey; and
  • secondary research that involved reviews of international education strategies and best practices in other jurisdictions.

The consulting team worked closely with the project steering committee in a series of ‘hands-on’ meetings to develop and shape the concepts, ideas and priorities. The final report was developed through an iterative process with several rounds of discussion and review by the committee.

Outcome

The research findings demonstrated that international education creates many different types of benefits for the province – social, pedagogical, and economic.  Based on these findings, the recommendations included an overall goal, four strategic priorities and a governance structure involving government, industry / business and academe to guide the development of a more comprehensive strategy and implementation plan.

Privately Held Businesses

Business and operational planning to achieve manufacturing cost reductions

Situation

A large Canadian manufacturer was under pressure to improve operational results over the short term. The GM of the operation was looking for someone to help them with setting their goals and getting senior team buy-in with a facilitated off-site session.

Approach

Our initial engagement was centred on the day and a half offsite planning session but we structured it in order to build momentum around the planning process. We interviewed all meeting attendees in advance, set the agenda together with the GM and facilitated the offsite where goals and a related action plan were developed. We also scheduled a follow up meeting a month later to review progress on achieving plan priorities.

We were then engaged to help manage the action plan activities.

Subsequently, we were retained to provide business advisory services on a monthly basis.

Outcome

The action plan was successfully implemented and the overarching goal of reducing manufacturing costs by a set percentage was exceeded.

Human resources strategic plan development for diversified private company employing more than 3,000

Situation

A large diversified Canadian private company with over 3,000 employees and with revenues over $500 million required a Human Resources Strategic Plan.

Approach

We interviewed all senior human resource professionals and all corporate executives in order to determine what the major HR issues were and what the optimum outcomes would look like. We then worked with the Senior Vice President, HR for the company in setting the agenda for a two day planning session with the senior HR team from across the country. We then facilitated the two day session. We had the business owner kick off the sessions and he was there at the end of the second day to participate in the wrap up. We prepared the session report and wrote the HR Strategy document together with the client.

Outcome

The company adopted the HR Strategy and rigorously implemented all recommended action plan items. These included the commencement of employee surveys, quarterly newsletters and changes to benefit plan components. Within two years the company achieved most of their stated human resource goals including recognition as of Canada’s Top100 Employers.

Strategic and operational planning support in professional services environment

Situation

A professional services client had adopted an aggressive growth strategy. In order to better understand their marketplace they needed additional information about their competitors as well as their target audience.

Approach

Halifax Global undertook a review of stated competitors. The process included creating a template of desired information and then undertaking the research to prepare the database. In addition, we identified target potential clients in a specified geographic region.

Outcome

The client now had a database of competitor information that can be updated as required. Using our potential client listing, an initial prospecting trip has taken place that had included meeting with some of our identified potential customers. This initiative is ongoing and our client is committing to the geographic marketplace based upon the positive activity to date.

Senior management team planning

Situation

The incoming CEO of an Atlantic Canada based but Canada wide services business realized that the current business strategies and marketplace offering required change in order to be relevant and competitive. In addition, morale was low and there was a lack of team cohesiveness.

Approach

We conducted a series on consultations with executive management, sales representatives and selected middle management employees. This provided a strong understanding of the current situation and enabled a SWOT analysis. This was followed by a two day offsite senior management team meeting that provided for the framework of a new strategic plan and a renewed optimism in proactively addressing marketplace opportunities. This was followed up with a series of consultations with key clients and vendors. A new vision and mandate was set, together with goals, strategies and a detailed implementation plan.

Outcome

The budget processes improved beginning with the following year. It should be noted that the work did not centre on the IT systems and software used but rather on the protocols followed including the setting of realistic expectations and improvements in communication.

Development and implementation of budget planning and processes for publicly listed, global processing business

Situation

A publicly traded company with revenues and processing operations around the globe had a complex and unwieldy budget process that resulted in frustration both for the participants in delivering the plans as well for the executive team that were the recipients.

Approach

In this case, Andy Cutten of Halifax Global had extensive budget experience while working for a multibillion dollar revenue publicly traded company that also had operations around the globe. Andy interviewed financial and operational managers from throughout the company as well as members of the executive. A series of changes were recommended, presented and adopted.

Outcome

The budget processes improved beginning with the following year. It should be noted that the work did not centre on the IT systems and software used but rather on the protocols followed including the setting of realistic expectations and improvements in communication.

Business process, human resources and planning support for incoming CEO of professional services firm.

Situation

The founder/owner of a 25 year old Toronto based professional services firm brought in a new CEO whose task would be to provide leadership and growth going forward. It was anticipated that the incoming CEO would become the new owner of the firm over time. The founder would be staying with the firm working with a select group of clients. The incoming CEO had great depth in industry experience but was looking for external support and advice with regards to business processes, human resources and planning.

Approach

Our initial engagement was to facilitate an offsite senior management meeting. The focus of this session was the creation of the business plan for the upcoming year and to improve operational processes. We helped manage the development of the plan and provided oversight on managing the action plan developed during the offsite. The following year the annual offsite was focused on the setting of long term goals and the creation of a strategic plan. Halifax Global, represented by Andy Cutten, has now been working with the firm for six years. Our relationship has grown steadily over this time and we have provided advice on all operational matters, ownership transition, internal and external growth initiatives. We visit with the client four to six times a year and the CEO and Andy have scheduled telephone calls every week.

Outcome

The CEO purchased the firm from the founder and in turn has given the senior management team the opportunity to buy into the firm. Halifax Global provided advice in all of these transactions and today is considered to be the firm’s trusted advisor, not only by the CEO but also by the Founder and the employees in the company. The firm has grown over the six years and the value of the firm has increased substantially.

Implementation support for acquisition strategy being executed by a national value added reseller

Situation

A national value added reseller had adopted strategies that entailed both innovation and acquisition. The company requested support in implementing the acquisition strategy that was linked both to revenue growth and to enhancing their innovation mandate.

Approach

We created a selection filter for acquisition candidates and then proceeded with a scan of hundreds of candidates. Profiles of short listed candidates were prepared and reviewed with the client. These meetings served to prioritize the candidates. Halifax global proceeded to make contact with the target companies.

Outcome

Halifax Global initiated acquisition discussions with two candidates and arranged for and participated in initial exploratory meetings between the client and the principals of the target companies, thus fulfilling our mandate.

Client and employee satisfaction analysis to improve performance and reduce turnover

Client

Direct marketing agency

Situation

A client, a direct marketing agency, had been losing employees and clients. In order to get a deep understanding of the underlying causes of the losses the client decided to undertake third party consultations and surveys of clients and employees.

Approach

We held confidential telephone interviews with a majority of clients as well as with some ex-clients. Questions centred around what they valued from the client as well as perceived shortcomings and an overall satisfaction rating was obtained from each client. An electronic survey was conducted with employees, and 100% participation was achieved. All questions were answered on a scale so again the satisfaction ratings could be tabulated. The results of both initiatives were summarized in a presentation that was made to all employees.

Outcome

There was strong correlation in satisfaction levels between employees and the clients and an action plan was introduced with an emphasis on improving customer satisfaction. The consultations and the employee survey were redone 2 years later and the satisfaction levels of both groups improved considerably. And over the intervening period the turnover in clients and employees was greatly reduced.

Member-Based Organisations

Development of member-survey driven strategic plan for provincial unit of large national membership organization

Situation

A Provincial chapter of a large national membership organization wanted to create a new strategic plan.

Approach

We started the process by holding confidential telephone interviews with the Board members. Next we held a one day offsite session and through these first two steps we were able to sketch out the framework for the plan. Next we conducted a member survey in order to best understand what they valued and desired from the organization and to validate the vision, mandate and strategic initiatives. A plan was then created focusing on several key strategies and required strategic enablers.

Outcome

The plan and the recommendations for implementation were presented and accepted by the Board and the implementation process got underway immediately.

Strategic plan for growth of provincial life sciences sector

Client

BioNova, Nova Scotia’s Life Sciences and Biotechnology Industry Association

Situation

Approach

The life sciences industry in Nova Scotia is a diverse cluster of start-up and established companies of varying sizes, many of whom export their products and services around the world. In addition, the universities, government and health centres contribute their research capabilities to support industry with their R&D needs.
Over a number of years, BioNova undertook several iterative initiatives toward developing a long term plan to grow the life sciences industry in Nova Scotia. Over the course of nearly four years, Halifax Global was engaged by BioNova to help with development of the plan.

Outcome

The strategic plan for the life sciences industry in Nova Scotia articulated four key elements required to change the trajectory of entrepreneurial activity in the industry, and the medical technology plan defined approaches to support commercialization and growth of this sector.